Western Producer August 29, 1991
Q: I need some help to get a handle on a very difficult situation. I’ve been married 15 years. My wife has become increasingly jealous of any female who is around me.
I can’t talk to any female neighbours in our town, without being accused that I am “putting the make on them.” This is a totally false accusation. Yet, she’s obsessed with the idea that I’m trying to “make it” with one of the women I work with, even though this staff member has a steady boyfriend.
I work for a small company, and we’re all invited by the boss at times for lunch. Whenever I went for lunch with them (if I didn’t have errands to do at noon) it caused a lot of trouble at home. So I finally stopped going out with the staff. After I turned down many invitations, I now eat my lunches alone at work. I also often eat supper alone at home, as my wife refuses to sit at the table at the same time as I.
My wife, who works as a professional in the same city as I do, refuses to discuss our relationship or to try to solve the matter. I asked her to attend marriage counseling. The answer was a flat, “No.” She’s a person who would never try to communicate with me, or confide in anyone else, such as a sister, when a problem came up. She prefers to keep things bottled up inside for long periods. Then, all of a sudden, she explodes, and says many things, which I hope she would later regret saying. But, she doesn’t usually apologize.
My wife controls her own pay cheques and bank account. I pay all our bills, including most of her car expenses. She’s been on several holidays on her own the past year. I’m never filled in about these trips, as to when, where, how long, who with, etc. She’s on a holiday now, and refused to tell me anything about it before she left. I don’t know if she’s having a relationship with someone else. There’s no concrete evidence to indicate this. I still love her, but I feel very used, and am nearing my wit’s end. I’ve remained faithful to her to date, but sometimes I wonder why. Please help.
A: I don’t know if I can help. From your description of the situation, your wife may have emotionally divorced you, even though she continues to live with you. I don’t know much about her personality, your personality, your courtship, or your early marriage. Form what limited information I have, I wonder if she has a personality problem or a serious emotional problem. Extreme jealous reactions, without reasonable evidence, can indicate a serious emotional disorder. Many people can function reasonably well, such as holing down a full-time job, with such an illness, but they can put themselves, or those who love them, through a living hell.
I recommend you locate a counselor for yourself, who can help you detach a bit from the strong emotional feelings you still have for her, and take a more objective look at the marriage and its future. Because of the nature of your wife’s reaction to you, you may want to seek out someone with a background in mental health counseling.